So Evgeni Nabokovhas become the fans and the media’s latest whipping boy. We all know his story. He went to Russia after failing to land a big money deal in the NHL, got out of his contract, and signed with Detroit. Prior to becoming a member of the Red Wings, he had to clear waivers. Which he didn’t, because the New York Islanders decided to nab him (Pun intended). He decided that he’d rather sit home and eat borscht and pelmeni rather than play for the Isles. And this of course, is where the criticism comes from.
If a guy is pouting because he doesn’t want to play in the NHL then I say he’s not welcome to play our reindeer games and he can sit at home toasting marshmallows, reading Good Housekeeping magazine and stewing in his own juices
Susan Lee, Too Many Men
Sure. I see where the criticism comes from. NYI played by the rules, and acquired a player they thought would help the club. First, an aside. The rules are stupid. Nabby was a free agent, and could have signed anywhere. How the hell did he lose that status and subject himself to the waiver wire? Now, back to the main program. Why the hell would the Isles really want him? They’re not one player away from something special. They’re 10 players away! They’re already mathematically eliminated from next years playoffs! They’re definitely not close to doing anything special at this point. They’re not rivals with Detroit. Like Nabby said, “What’s the point?”
I completely understand if a team in the West picked him up to block Detroit from having him. That’s some real life strategy that would make any fantasy sports player smile. Imagine if Chicago grabbed him and they faced the Wingsin Round 1. That’d be an interesting story line. But New York? What will he prove there? In Detroit he has a chance to win something, and earn a big money deal. He has no chance for either in NY. The defense sucks so bad that he’ll be left alone on an island. His numbers will suffer, and he won’t get the pay day. Again, what’s the point? Yes, the alternative that he’s stuck with is forced retirement. Not playing hockey when you can still compete really sucks. Still, if I were Garth Snow, I would have contacted Nabokov or his agent prior to plucking him. His heart was set on Detroit. Should have just let him be.
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